Alibaba has often been referred to as China’s answer to Google, and rightfully so. They are one of the country’s largest (if not the largest) search engine and have even services and products that mirror Google’s own, so it’s really not surprising that the company now has plans to launch a social network of their own called Laiwang.
In a country where things are heavily censored and tightly controlled, a company like Alibaba would have no trouble establishing a social network of its own that would gain the blessing and approval of the Chinese government. It appears to be similar to Google’s own social network Google+ and as you can see in the photo above, it also has a feature that is remarkably similar to that of Google+’s Circle feature.
Laiwang is currently under beta-testing and will be available on the PC and downloadable onto both Android and the iPhone. Attempting to distinguish themselves apart from China’s other social networks, Laiwang will integrate Alibaba’s services such as their Cloud Computing technology Aliyun, online payment system Alipay, and B2B e-commerce platform Taobao all into one package.